Note: these are my opinions only.
Another topic at breakfast this morning with Rex was the spying the NSA is doing on all of us.
I think, if the President decided that it was more important to level with us than continue to deceive us, which they have been doing, there's no way of denying it now (and they haven't tried to), this is what he'd have to say.
1. The clock is running out on our civilization. Our financial system almost fell apart in 2008, and the only way we were able to get it functioning again was to throw a lot of bullshit at it, to re-inflate the bubble. Any other approach would have meant going into a kind of depression the world has never seen.
2. While that's happening, we've done nothing about the changing climate. Our coastal cities are going to be underwater soon. There will be chaos when that happens, orders of magnitude greater than the chaos that ensued after 9/11.
3. Also, our economy is now built around computer networks, whose security is a joke. One day, probably soon, hackers are going to get into the banking system and "disrupt" it. When you check your bank balance you'll see $0. No one will know who did this. It might even be the US government.
We can't change any of these things. We will have an economic collapse. The climate will disrupt our lives in unimaginable ways. And hackers will rule us. All this will happen. So if you believe this, how do you prepare for it, such that the people who control the US govt have a chance to survive with their lifestyles intact? That's why Obama supports NSA spying. His bosses ordered him to.
What should we do about it? Probably nothing. Both of us, Rex and I, are in our late 50s. This stuff will play out over the next 20 years or so. Neither of us has enough of a stake in it to devote serious energy to it, esp if the younger people, who really do have a stake in the outcome continue to be uninterested.
I thought it was notable that they blame us, the boomer generation, for the mess we're in. When we were younger we did protest. Study the history. We were even effective at stopping the war we objected to. Our crime, if you want to think of it as that, is that we became middle-aged, and decided to live our lives instead of trying to change the world. We created the networks they love so much, and think we don't understand. So on the whole, I'd say we did okay. Not great, but not too bad. The question is why are today's young people acting so middle-aged?
BTW, the President going on camera and telling us a big truth is not unprecedented. Check out Eisenhower's farewell address. It's amazing how he laid it out there. If only we had listened. It's the beginning of an incredible movie called Why We Fight. Highly recommended.